Anne Stafford started the Light Up the Future Bursary in 1993 on the occasion of her retirement from Community Living Ontario. Since its inception, more than 300 people have accessed the bursary, with a number of applicants receiving the award annually. Over the years, the bursary has been supported by individual donors, member associations and corporate partners through fundraising efforts at Community Living Ontario’s annual conference.

To highlight what’s possible when a passion gets ignited through a mentoring opportunity, we wanted to share Issham Mujib’s story, a past recipient of the Light Up the Future Bursary.

Like any devoted artist, Issham Mujib sometimes spends day and night working on movies. For the past few years, he’s been editing and creating his own stories from the content of popular movies and posting them on his YouTube channel

“He takes snippets of movies and edits things to fit a new storyline that he comes up with,” explained his sister, Mona.

Issham’s innovative and resourceful way of telling stories through the re-editing of animations made a huge impression on Jodi Sandler, a freelance animator based in Toronto. Natalie Lowe, a coordinator for Community Living Ontario’s Student Links initiative, introduced the two and they immediately forged a strong connection based on their shared interest.

“His problem solving skills and the way he figured out how to make his movies was so impressive,” Jodi recalled. “He is so passionate about his story and his craft. You can’t put passion into people, and he’s got that and it is kind of rare.”

If your family member is interested in pursuing a passion or particular educational pursuit, this could be a great opportunity to apply for the $1,000 award. Please find the application form, criteria and return envelope enclosed.

Although having a passion for creating movies was never a problem for Issham, he was interested in learning how to use professional editing tools and to make his movies more complete.

“I wanted to learn to use After Effects and Photoshop,” Issham explained. This is exactly what he and Jodi started doing together.

Their meetings not only had a big impact on Issham, but they also started to give his family an idea of how to support him in taking his next steps as an animator after he graduated high school. As Mona explained, “We knew he was interested in animation, but didn’t know what path that would entail. We realized that here is something he might want to do and that there is a future in there for him.”

With assistance, Mona helped Issham apply for the Anne Stafford Light up the Future Bursary so that he could take an animation course at Humber College. The class was a huge success for Issham and inspired his whole family.

“All throughout his life, he had been in a special class or special school,” explained his sister. “This was his first inclusive experience because, in college, everyone was together. That was a big thing for us. It gave us hope for the future”.

For now, Issham is focused on taking more Humber courses.

As you can see, this bursary provides a wonderful opportunity for students to explore possibilities for their future. Please consider making a donation today to the Anne Stafford Light Up the Future Bursary. You too can help to make a difference in the future of our youth!